Tuesday, November 29, 2016

BOOK BLITZ: "Royally Wed (Ladies-in-Waiting, #2)" by Pamela DuMond


Royally Wed
(Ladies-in-Waiting, #2)
Pamela DuMond
Publication date: October 13th, 2016
Genres: Comedy, New Adult, Romance

Synopsis: 
Ring the wedding bells, pour the champagne, and get thee to the cathedral for Royally Wed, the LOL sequel to Part-time Princess (Ladies-in-Waiting, #1)! 
Lucy Trabbicio, former cocktail waitress and down-to-earth American commoner, is about to marry the man of her dreams, Prince Nicholas of Fredonia in the posh royal wedding of the year. 
But something goes very wrong on the way to the altar. Now it’s up to Lucy, her party-hard, take-no-prisoners Ladies-in-Waiting, and Nick’s opinionated Royal Nana to solve the debacle, and get her back into sexy Prince Nick’s arms in time to be Royally Wed, as well as royally bed. 
A modern day, sexy tale with romance, twists and turns, laughter, and a whole lot of hanky-panky!

Excerpt from "Royally Wed":

“Hang on.” Cheryl slipped a silver flask from the bustle of her bridesmaid dress. “This is cause for celebration. We don’t get to cheer on one of our own all that often. We’re always stuck buying fancy presents for the girls getting married who we don’t care that much about because we know they don’t care that much about us, either.”

“Here, here!” Joan said as Cheryl took a shot from the flask.

“And then,” Cheryl said and wiped her mouth on her sleeve, “those bitches complain behind our backs, but we always find out about it through the royal grapevine, that we should have bought them a pricier item on their registry. So here’s to our Lucy, who we care about, who would never say bitchy things behind our backs.”

“I’ll say them straight to your face.”

“That’s one of the reasons I like you. Here’s to Lucy’s wedding day.” She slugged back a shot and handed it to Joan. “May it be everything you ever dreamed and more.”

“Cheers!” Joan knocked back a shot and handed it to Alida.

“Salute!” She took a sip, grimaced, and passed it to Mr. Philips who took a quick sip.

“Nicely done, ladies. Prince Harry’s Private Reserve?”

Cheryl nodded. “I don’t skimp for weddings.”

“You don’t skimp for anything.” Esmeralda took the flask from Philips and downed a shot, then dabbed a little behind her ears and on her cleavage. “One of the reasons I like you.”

“You’re wasting good liquor,” Mr. Philips said.

“I prefer to think it’s an investment. The scent of Prince Harry’s Private Reserve is practically an aphrodisiac for any titled man at a wedding reception,” she said and passed the flask to me. “I’m tragically single, you know.”

“Not so tragic,” Cheryl said. “You told me you never wanted to get married.”

Esmeralda put her finger to her lips. “Shh!”

“No thanks on the shot.” I shook my head. “The Champagne finally wore off. I’m only getting married—for real—once. I’m not walking down the aisle tipsy, let alone with scotch on my breath.”

“But you have to,” Cheryl said. “It’s tradition.”

“Not where I’m from.” I grabbed a bottle of Fredonia Mineral Water, raised it high in the air, and toasted my Ladies-in-Waiting and the boys. “Cheers!” I took a healthy slug.

“Dios mio!” Alida exclaimed.

“Merde!” Joan said.

“Crap!” Esmeralda leapt toward me and knocked the bottle out of my hands. It flew across the room, splattered Mr. Philips tuxedo trousers and landed open-mouthed on his shoe as it poured out.

He stared down at it and sighed.

“Why’d you do that?” I asked.

Alida crossed herself. “Don’t you know, Lucy?”

Cheryl’s face turned ashen. “It’s terrible luck to toast with water.”

“That’s just an old wives tale,” I said and waved my hand at them. “Go forth and march down that aisle now because I am finally getting married. My worries are over. Does anyone have any chocolate? I’m a little lightheaded. Probably my low blood sugar. I’m good. I’m ready. Besides, what could possibly go wrong?”

Author Bio:
Pam pitched Erin Brockovich's story to 'Hollywood.' ERIN BROCKOVICH the movie earned 4 Academy Award nominations, and Erin became a household name for environmental activism. 
Pam writes Romance, YA, Mysteries, and even Self-Help. All her stories have humor and heart. 
She's addicted to TV shows -- The Voice, The Blacklist, and GOT. She likes dogs and cats equally, prefers her coffee strong, her cabernet hearty, her chocolate dark, and her foods non-GMO. She lives for a good giggle in Venice, California with her fur-babies.
Sign up for her NEWSLETTER for info on upcoming books, deals, and special events on her website at www.pameladumond.com and check her out on Facebook at PamelaDuMondAuthor. 





TEASER TUESDAY book quote from "Prelude to Mayhem (Mayhem Wave series, #1) by Edward Aubry


Check out my Author Interview with Edward Aubry
HERE on So Few Books!

TEASER TUESDAY book quote from "Station Fosaan (Torch World series, #1)" by Dee Garretson


To learn more about "Embers in the Sea,"
check out the cover reveal post HERE on my blog.

Monday, November 28, 2016

BLOG TOUR & AUTHOR INTERVIEW with Edward Aubry for "Prelude to Mayhem (Mayhem Wave series, #1)"


Prelude to Mayhem
(Mayhem Wave series, #1)
Edward Aubry
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: November 28, 2016

Synopsis: 

On May 30, 2004, the world transformed. Nearly all signs of civilization vanished, leaving in their wake a bizarre landscape of wilderness, advanced technology and magic, and leaving Harrison Cody very much alone. After weeks of surviving in solitude, he hears a voice on the radio, beckoning him to cross a thousand miles of terrifyingly random terrain to meet her, and any other survivors, in Chicago. Eager to find any remnants of humanity, he sets forth, joined by an unexpected—and inhuman—companion.


For Dorothy O’Neill, the end of the world means she will never finish ninth grade. On her own, she builds a home in the ruins of a strip mall, relying on her ingenuity and hard work to maintain some semblance of creature comforts. When another survivor arrives, he brings futuristic technology and stories of monsters he has encountered. Armed with this information, she takes a new interest in exploring her world, but she is not prepared for what awaits her, and the new arrival has brought his own set of problems.

On their separate journeys, Harrison and Dorothy begin to piece together what has happened to their world. Their questions have answers to be found in what remains of Chicago, and from the mysterious voice on the radio offering the hope that civilization can be rebuilt.

~AUTHOR INTERVIEW with Edward Aubry~
1) I've read just a couple chapters of the book so far, and it seems wonderfully inventive.  What gave you the inspiration for this unique storyline?  

It’s a combination of a variety of inspirations. The Mayhem Wave started as an experiment to blend fantasy and science fiction elements in a new way, or at least in a way I had never seen before. The post-apocalyptic aspect emerged from a simple daydream. I used to work in a bookstore, and that first scene with Harrison driving alone on I-91 came to me during a week when I was filling in for a store manager in another county. The commute was a lot longer than I was used to, and early in the morning I had the highway almost to myself. I started to picture it completely empty, with a character on a solitary drive to nowhere, and the questions of how he got there and why he was alone spun out into the premise for my story. The character of Glimmer was salvaged from an abandoned story idea I had in my early teens. I originally intended her to be a throwaway, transparent satire of Tinker Bell there for comic relief only, but she quickly got away from me. She’s like that.

2) Are there any hidden themes in the book that you hope readers will discover?

I wouldn’t describe them as well-hidden, but yes, themes about family and heroism weave through the entire series. My goal with my protagonists was to show heroes defined by qualities other than courage and risk-taking (though they have those things, too).  Heroism exists in subtler, less visible, less sexy forms, and I wanted to validate them.

3) Are any of the characters based on real people you know?

My family tends to crop up in all my books, but apart from that, I shy away from bringing real people into my imaginary worlds. Static Mayhem was my first novel, and I absolutely fell into the immature, first novel conceit of writing Harrison as an idealized version of myself. He has evolved over many drafts to the point where I don’t think he reads like that anymore, but I may be kidding myself.  Dorothy is about 90% my middle daughter. One of the protagonists in the third and fourth (or fifth) books is about 90% my youngest daughter.  One of the main characters of an unrelated book, Unhappenings, is about 60% my oldest daughter.  Every love interest I have written for a male protagonist is some version of my wife.

4) I believe there are other works in this series.  How many are there or will there be total?  Have you completed them all?  Do you know how the series will end?

There are three books finished, a fourth one partially drafted, and sketches for a fifth. Prelude to Mayhem is the first book chronologically. Static Mayhem takes place one year later, and is told entirely from Harrison’s POV. A third book, Mayhem’s Children, takes place eight years after that, and is told in split POV again, though it is very much Dorothy’s story. Mayhem’s Reign, will take place nine years after that, told in three-way POV, with the third character, someone introduced in Mayhem’s Children, being the most important. Meanwhile, while writing it, I have discovered an untold Dorothy story between the third and fourth books that I am now itching to write. It may or may not end up a full novel, chronologically fourth in the series.  So, Mayhem’s Reign will either be book four or book five, but either way I intend it to be the finale of the series.

5) Who has influenced you most as a writer?

Great question, and my answer changes as I get older.  I’m also not sure how apparent my influences will be to a reader, as I don’t think my work reads like any of these people. That said, a partial list would have to include the following: Lois McMaster Bujold, for her long-form, character-driven storytelling. Neil Gaiman, for stretching the boundaries of fantasy. Joss Whedon, for engaging dialog and the willingness to twist conventional tropes into something unexpected. Kurt Vonnegut, for elegant simplicity of prose. The list goes on, but that should suffice as a starter.

6) If you could have any three literary characters over to your place for game night, who would you invite, what would you play, what would you serve, and why?  

Tom Sawyer, Yossarian, and Ford Prefect. We would play poker. Any hors d’oeuvre will suffice, as well as unfettered access to whiskey. Poker is a game of guile and manipulation, and I cannot imagine a more entertaining evening than watching these guileful, manipulative bastards in their efforts to relieve each other of their coin. For my part, I would expect to fold a lot.

About the Author

Edward Aubry is a graduate of Wesleyan University, with a degree in music composition. Improbably, this preceded a career as a teacher of high school mathematics and creative writing.

Over the last few years, he has gradually transitioned from being a teacher who writes novels on the side to a novelist who teaches to support his family. He is also a poet, his sole published work in that form being the sixteen stanza “The History of Mathematics.”

He now lives in rural Pennsylvania with his wife and three spectacular daughters, where he fills his non-teaching hours spinning tales of time-travel, wise-cracking pixies, and an assortment of other impossible things.

Find Edward Aubry Online:



Sunday, November 27, 2016

BOOK BLITZ: "Engaged to an Alien Pop Star (Alien Pop Star, #2)" by Kendra L. Saunders


Engaged to an Alien Pop Star
(Alien Pop Star, #2)
Kendra L. Saunders
Published by: Crimson Tree Publishing
Publication date: November 28th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance, Science Fiction

Synopsis:
Daisy Kirkwood and her best friend Kammie have adjusted to life on an alien planet pretty well, all things considered. And thanks to Daisy’s alien pop star boyfriend, Griffin Valentino, she has plenty of sexy new experiences to keep her busy. But it’s not possible to take a massive music nerd away from her home planet and not expect her to pine for a concert or a record store at least in once in a while.
Heading back to Earth with Griffin and his best friend Dev for a brief but much-needed visit, the girls want nothing more than to catch up on the underground music scene of New York City. Unfortunately, thanks to Griffin’s less-than-stellar space traveling skills, they accidentally pick up a hitchhiker. Or three hundred. Their many-legged stowaway beasties take up residence in the darkest, creepiest corners of Manhattan, leaving the gang no choice but to experience a very different underground than they bargained for.
Giant alien bugs aside, Griffin has some epic plans of his own for their trip, plans that involve a concert, an album… and the most outrageous marriage proposal that Earth has ever seen.

Excerpt from "Engaged to an Alien Pop Star":

My boyfriend is levitating four inches above our bed, with a cloud of gold sparks floating around his head like a crown. This makes for a pretty normal morning, even with the soft snuffling and clicking noises he makes as he sleeps. And the crown is appropriate, since my boyfriend is an alien prince.

The alien prince in question, Griffin, floats back down to our bed with a yawn, stretching as he hits the blankets. He squirms around until he can slip under the blankets and wriggle closer to me. Despite sleeping uncovered, he’s toasty and warm, a sign of restorative sleep in his people. I return his embrace a bit too eagerly, my hands slipping under his nightshirt and causing him to gasp out loud. “Gods! Daisy, your hands are cold.”

“They’re not cold. They’re room temperature. But you feel nice and warm, so hold still.”

Griffin wriggles a bit more in feigned protest, but we soon settle into a comfortable position, arms and legs entwined.

“Are you excited to go back home?” Griffin asks, his voice husky with sleep as he leans up to nip at my earlobe with sharp teeth. His glowing blue eyes peer at me from under heavy lids and dark lashes, lashes that are unfairly longer than my own.

“If you keep biting my ear or looking at me like that, I’m not going to be able to go back to sleep. And yes. I’m very excited to go back to Earth.”

“Well then, don’t go back to sleep,” Griffin says, running a hand over his recently shorn dark hair. It’s always amazing to me how he can go from sleepy animal cute to dangerously sexy alien rock star in the span of seconds, depending on what he’s doing or saying. That kind of magical ability can get an Earth girl in trouble. “I have much better ideas for what we can do this morning, Wanda…”

Wanda is his pet name for me, a word in his language that means, “Love without end.” Griffin knows very well what he does to me when he calls me that.

“Do these plans involve you miraculously making chocolate appear? I miss chocolate,” I say, in a teasing tone. “When we go back to Earth, I’m going to stock up on junk food. There’s only so much healthy gray goop a girl can eat before she starts to feel like a very deprived post-divorce Gwyneth Paltrow.”

“Chocolate? Don’t be daft, Daisy, I was referring to sex.”

You can grab book 1 – Dating an Alien Pop Star – for FREE!



Author Bio:
Kendra L. Saunders is a time-and-space traveling fashionista author who writes books about magical, dark-haired men, interviews famous people, and suggests way too many bands to you via whatever social media platform she can get her hands on. She writes with good humor because humor is the best weapon for a girl who can't learn karate (or ballroom dancing). 
She is the author of DATING AN ALIEN POP STAR, the magic realism novel INANIMATE OBJECTS, dark comedy DEATH AND MR. RIGHT, the upcoming romance THE UNLOVE SPELL, and has conducted interviews with NYT Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout, goth rocker Aurelio Voltaire, and Project Runway winners Dmitry Sholokhov and Michelle Lesniak Franklin among many, many others. 
GIVEAWAY!

Friday, November 25, 2016

BOOK BLITZ: "Catalyst (The Deception Game, #1)" by Kristin Smith

Catalyst
(The Deception Game, #1)
Kristin Smith
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: November 21st, 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Too pretty.

Too smart.

Too perfect.
 
In a crumbling, futuristic Las Vegas where the wealthy choose the characteristics of their children like ordering off a drive-thru menu, seventeen-year-old Sienna Preston doesn’t fit in. As a normal girl surrounded by genetically modified teenagers, all of her imperfections are on display. But after the death of her father, everything she’s ever known and loved changes in an instant. 
With little skills to help provide for her family, Sienna clings to the two things that come easily—lying and stealing. But not all thief-for-hire assignments go as planned. When a covert exchange of a stolen computer chip is intercepted, she becomes entangled with a corrupt government official who uses her thieving past as leverage, her mother as collateral, and the genetically modified poster boy she’s falling for as bait. 
In order to rescue her mother, there may only be one option—joining forces with the Fringe, an extremist group, and their young leader who’s too hot to be bad. Problem is, these revolutionaries aren’t what they seem, and the secrets they’re hiding could be more dangerous than Sienna is prepared for. In the end, she must be willing to risk everything to save the one thing that matters most. 
Catalyst is a thrilling adventure of danger, romance, intrigue, and deception.


Excerpt from "Catalyst":

“You need to learn a little hand-to-hand combat.” Trey puts his fists up by his face. “Always protect your soft spots—your face being numero uno.” He glances at my bandaged arm. “You right-handed?”

It’s after breakfast and we’re in the training facility, a large, gym-type room with thick mats, punching bags, weights, and a long wall of mirrors. The smell of sweat and stinky feet assault my nose as I stand across from him on the pile of black mats used to create a “ring”. We have the gym to ourselves. Most likely because everyone else is too smart to work out right after a meal.

I nod and flex my right hand, the one that’s not bandaged.

“You should be fine, then. I’ll take it easy on you.” He grins. “Go ahead—hit me.”

I take a step back and shake my head. “I’m not gonna hit you.”

He moves forward to decrease the distance between us. “I said, hit me.”

I raise my arms as if I’m about to fight him, but all I can think is how much he’s done to help me. How can I punch the man who saved me from the government facility, removed my tracker, and is willing to help rescue my mother?

When he realizes I won’t fight, he lowers his hands. “Remember, Sienna, these men don’t care that you’re a girl. They don’t care how old you are. If given the opportunity, they will hurt you.” His eyes harden. “Now hit me.”

I punch him as hard as I can, and he’s not expecting it. The force of the blow to his face knocks him backward, and my hand throbs from the impact. He looks stunned, especially when a trickle of blood makes its way out of his nose. But then he grins.

Wiping his nose on his shirt, he motions with his hands for me to come closer. “Nicely done. Now, hit me again.”

Surely, he must be crazy. I’m about to walk away, but his words echo in my mind. If given the opportunity, they will hurt you. I can’t give them that opportunity.

Author Bio:
Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary and science fiction novels. When she’s not writing, you can find her dreaming about the beach, beating her boys at Just Dance, or belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five incredibly loud but extremely cute boys. To read more about her obsession with YA novels or her addiction to chocolate, you can visit her at kristinsmithbooks.com.
GIVEAWAY!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

COVER REVEAL for "Station Fosaan (Torch World series, #1)" by Dee Garretson


Today Dee Garretson and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for STATION FOSAAN, which releases February 14, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!!

A quick note from the author:

I’ve been a major science fiction fan ever since I discovered A WRINKLE IN TIME. When I moved on to watching STAR TREK every day after school, that hooked me. Spock was my first crush. I don’t know what that says about me. Maybe it was his pointy ears, because I’m very taken with the pointy eared elves in LORD OF THE RINGS too. It wasn't just Spock though. I loved all the strange new worlds. I was devastated the day my father told me that even once I grew up, there would be no Enterprise spaceships and I couldn’t be Lieutenant Uhura. I still remember how I wanted that communication earpiece, the miniskirt and the boots.

So you might say STATION FOSAAN is in response to that disappointment. I created my own science fiction world, which has been influenced not only by STAR TREK, but by STAR WARS and DUNE as well. And while it is a space adventure, it’s also a story of two people who find each other only to discover their lives may have to follow different paths. The essence of a story is always the characters. I love to create ones I’d want to know in real life. And like in real life, these characters face powerful forces who try to emphasize the differences between peoples rather than finding common ground. It’s a test to see what they choose. One of my favorite parts from the book is something that is also my personal motto: “We have to take chances. I have to take a chance. It’s time to go beyond the known.”

On to the reveal! 


Title: STATION FOSAAN
(Torch World series, #1)
Author: Dee Garretson
Pub. Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 300
Find it: Goodreads Amazon | B&N | TBD

Scientists and their families stationed on the remote planet of Fosaan were promised a tropical vacation-like experience. But Fosaan, devastated from an apocalyptic event nearly three-hundred years ago, is full of lethal predators and dangerous terrain.

Earthers are forbidden to go beyond the safety zone of their settlement and must not engage the remaining reclusive Fosaanians, native to the planet. Sixteen-year-old Quinn Neen is about to do
both of those things.

During an unsanctioned exploration of the planet, Quinn discovers a beautiful Fosaanian girl named Mira stealing food from his family’s living unit. But before he can convince her to show him around, scientists are taken captive, leaving Quinn and the other young Earthers at the mercy of space raiders.

Quinn must go from renegade to leader and convince Mira to become an ally in a fight against an enemy whose very existence threatens their lives and the future of Earthers stuck on Fosaan and at home.

STATION FOSAAN is THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND meets STAR TREK: THE WRATH OF KHAN. 


Excerpt:

Chapter 1

When a civilization comes close to extinction, what emerges out of the ashes? On Fosaan, music did not, and art has turned to survival craft. Perhaps if I record what I know, some in the future will understand us better. The coming of the Earthers may be the end of us, and I do not want our memories to fade to ash. I may be giving myself too lofty a title, but for now I shall sign my musings,

Erimik, historian of the Clan

A flash in Fosaan’s sky distracted me from my work for a moment. If I hadn’t known better, I’d have thought a large ship just entered the atmosphere, but none were scheduled to land.

The flex wall rustled behind me. “Piper?” I said, not looking up from the display slip. One more minute and I would have the depiction of the snake-like creature completed, right down to the exact interlocking star pattern on the skin and the red speckling on the forelegs. Duplicating the vivid greenish yellow color would be trickier, but I had imaged it so there’d be a reference when I got down to mixing colors.

It was pure luck I had found a dead one on the walkway to study. I didn’t know what happened to the other deceased animals on Fosaan, but if the shrieks and howls that came from shore were any hint, I could guess. I’d just have to make sure I got rid of the thing before Piper got home. My younger sister hated seeing anything dead.

“Piper?” I turned around, but no one was in the unit. The rustling sound had moved into the kitchen.

Magellan squawked and flapped her wings from the window ledge, “Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!”

Since the parrot said the same thing at every sound she didn’t recognize, I wasn’t too worried. “Mags, relax. It’s probably just an olon.” I got up and grabbed the stick I always used to shoo away the tiny nuisances. If I let one in, a whole flock of them would follow, perching on every available surface, chittering and staring as if expecting me to put on a show for them. Me, Quinn Neen, whose talents, such as they were, did not include entertaining anyone or anything. It was even worse when they brought in their latest catches from the sea, treating the floating living units like their own picnic area, dropping bones all over the floor.

Now that Mags felt like she had done her guard job, she lost interest. Balancing on one leg, she examined a talon on the other. “Beautiful toe,” she declared.

“Yes, you’ve told me before,” I said, knowing I’d never be able to convince the parrot a talon was not the same thing as a toe. I wasn’t sure she grasped the concept of “beautiful,” but she applied it more frequently to herself than anyone else. Leaving the bird to her talon inspection, I pushed aside the divider to get into the kitchen. No olons. No more rustling noise either, just the faint splash of the waves rocking the walkways that connected the individual living quarters. A gust of wind brought in the briny scent of the water, sharper smelling than the oceans of Earth. It overpowered the pine scent I had set on the room control, which I liked to use as a reminder of the pine forest reserve my grandmother managed on Earth. Another gust rattled the beads Piper had attached to her favorite house droid, but there were no other sounds. Maybe an olon had come and gone.

I turned to go back when a flash of white caught my eye. Startled, I dropped the stick and then tripped over it. A girl, a Fosaanian girl, stood clutching a wafer loaf to her chest, a cloud of long shimmery white hair quivering. In fact, all of her was shivering. She was soaked, water dripping off her. I could see her wet footprints all over the kitchen. Her silvery eyes held mine and I couldn’t think of a thing to say. I wasn’t usually so speechless around girls with incredible eyes, but I’d never encountered one I didn’t know in my own quarters.

“What are you doing?” I finally managed to croak, even though it was obvious she was taking the loaf, or more accurately, stealing the loaf. Fosaanians never came out onto the Earthers’ floating compound.

“I’m sorry,” the girl said, putting the loaf back on counter and edging to the door.

“No, wait!” I didn’t mean to shout, but my words came out too loud. The girl froze like I had issued an order, though I could tell she was ready to bolt. “It’s okay,” I said. “I mean, if you’re hungry, take it.” Picking the loaf up, I held it out to her, hoping it would convince her to stay for a little while. She would be the first Fosaanian I had talked to, if I could get her to talk. The small population of Fosaanians, the descendants of the few who had survived the planetary apocalypse, kept away from all of us Earthers, except for the ones who worked at the supply depot or who delivered the iridium sulfide. None of those could be called the least bit friendly.

She didn’t take the loaf, but she didn’t run either. Instead, she stood there looking around the room, clearly curious.

“I have an even better idea,” I said, trying to come up with one. “How about I fix us both something to eat? I’m hungry too.” The girl was too thin, but then all the Fosaanians I had seen were skinny. I assumed it was a Fosaanian physical trait that went along with their long fingers and thin necks, but now it occurred to me that if she was here to steal food maybe they weren’t getting enough to eat.

“The food, it is not for me,” the girl said. “My little sister, she had an accident and some of her teeth were damaged. It’s easier for her to eat soft food….” Her voice trailed off, and she clutched her hands together.

“You can take it. We have plenty. I’ll find some other stuff too.” I grabbed a carryall and opened the storage cabinet, looking for soft food. “Why doesn’t your sister just get replacement teeth?”

Her eyes widened. “You can replace teeth?”

“Sure, people do it all the time.” I had two replacements already, from running into a low bulkhead when I was trying to get some exercise during the long dull journey to Fosaan from Earth.

“How much do teeth cost?”

“I don’t know.” I found some milk bars and added them to the carryall. “Not much, probably.” I’d never even thought about it.

“If it costs as much as wafer bread, then it would be too much.” She sounded angry.

“Maybe not. I have a friend up on the space station in charge of inventory,” I told her. “I can ask him if they have some extra teeth. They probably do.”

Her eyes narrowed and she took a step back. “What would I have to do for them?”

“Nothing,” I said. I was struck by how suspicious she sounded. “My friend, Gregor, he isn’t too strict about things. Giving you some teeth for your sister isn’t going to break the budget of the station.” I knew Gregor would actually be pleased to do something that was outside the rules. He took so much pleasure in breaking military protocol, I sometimes wondered why he had signed up for more service after the mandatory enlistment was up.

An olon flew in and perched on a stool, folding its wings into small pleats and settling down like it intended to stay. I recognized it from its abnormal markings. Most olons had a bright green streak under each eye, but this one was missing the streak on the left. It was also the one who seemed to have an uncanny knack for knowing when food was out. “You’re not getting any of this,” I said to it. “Don’t be lazy. Go find your own food.” It hooted at me.

At the noise, Mags hopped into the room and then flew up and landed on the counter, flapping her wings and screeching, “Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert! Dog! Dog!” She hated the olons and “dog” was her word for anything she hated.

The olon just gazed at the parrot, not moving. “Easy, Mags,” I said, “It’s ‘olon’. ‘Olon.’”

“Dog!” Mags flapped her wings threateningly. “Man the weapons!” My father had taught Mags the weapons line, and he and I thought it hilarious, though my mother wasn’t crazy about the parrot threatening any guest the bird didn’t like. When the olon didn’t move, Mags added in some incoming missile sound effects to indicate she was extremely displeased.

“Calm down, Mags.” The olon didn’t appear perturbed at all by the parrot. It sidled to the edge of the stool, its attention totally focused on the wafer loaf.

“Your creature talks? You communicate with them?” the girl asked, her amazing eyes widening.

It took me a moment to answer; I was so caught up in looking at her. “Uh, no, I sort of communicate with Mags, but I just talk to the olons. They don’t understand me. It’s a habit when I’m by myself.” Now she would think I was strange. I’d only started talking to myself once we’d arrived. There were fifteen other younger Earthers onplanet and an assortment of scientists who came and went to the orbiting space station for their shifts, but we often got tired of each other. I spent most of the time working on my own projects.

The girl eyed the olon. “I’ve never seen one without two markings on the face,” she said. “I did see one once with double markings, but never just one.”

“I’d like to see one like that.” I was intrigued that she had noticed. Most people didn’t pay much attention to them. When I had first observed the marking and pointed it out to my friend Lainie, she had pretended to be interested, but the way she smiled made it clear she was just humoring me.

The olon hooted once more and then flew back out the window, like it had given up on the possibility of a handout.

“All clear!” Mags announced, using another of the military phrases my father favored. She began to preen herself. “Beautiful feathers.”

“Quinn!” Piper shouted from the walkway. The bells my little sister wore in her hair jangled crazily as she ran into the room. “Quinn, guess what? The shuttle landed but nobody was on it. Not mom, not anybody. Nobody knows why.” Piper skidded to a stop, noticing the girl. “Why is a Fosaanian here?” she demanded, her eyes wide.

“Um…She was out swimming,” I said, not wanting to explain the conversation about the bread. There were never simple explanations for Piper. Everything always led to another why. “I invited her in,” I added.

“Hello,” Piper said, moving closer to the girl and sniffing the air. “You don’t smell. My friend Lia says Fosaanians smell.”

“That’s rude, Piper. I’m sorry,” I said to the girl. I had heard the same rumor, that Fosaanians smelled like the sulfur permeating the atmosphere.

“I said she DIDN’T smell.” Piper glared at me. “It would be rude if I said she DID. What’s your name?”

“My name is Mira,” The girl answered almost in a whisper.

Piper reached out and patted Mira on the arm as if she was some shy creature. “Mira is a pretty name. Mine’s Piper. How old are you? I’m seven. Why do you have that funny mark on your face?”

The girl jerked back like the question shocked her. I didn’t understand her reaction, and after she didn’t respond, I said to Piper, “It’s a tattoo.” I didn’t think much about it because the small three-sided red mark on her check matched the ones on the two Fosaanians who worked at the station.

Mira’s lack of response didn’t stop Piper. “Why do all the Fosaanians have white hair? It makes everyone look old.” Piper moved closer like she was going to touch Mira’s hair.

“Piper!” Time to distract my sister before she did anything embarrassing. “What about the shuttle?” I asked.

“It landed without anybody on it, and nobody at the supply depot can talk to the space station. Is it true Fosaanian babies are born with black hair and then it turns white?”

Piper’s jumps in topics were hard to follow, and it took Mira some time to answer. “We all have white hair all along,” the girl said.

“That’s strange.” I was puzzled, not about the hair, but about the shuttle. There were always communication problems between the depot and the station because of the weird atmospheric components on Fosaan, and because of the frequent volcanic ash that spewed into the air from a nearby island, but I couldn’t think of a reason why the shuttle wouldn’t have anyone on it. “Maybe everyone decided to stay for a double shift. Mom said they were having problems with the newest version of the MIdroids.”

Piper shrugged. “Mick didn’t say anything.”

“What’s Mick doing about it?” I asked. Mick ran the depot, with the help of a few Fosaanians and some ancient droids he refused to replace. He was good with supplies and machines and droids, not so good with other people.

“He sent the second shift up. They’re supposed to report back.” Piper twisted her finger through her own hair, and the bells jingled softly. I knew the hair-twisting meant Piper was nervous.

“I’m sure they will,” I said to reassure her. I was about to go back to talking to Mira when I realized there was something odd about Piper’s last statement. “How are they going to report back if the link isn’t working?”

“I don’t know. Do all Fosaanians have such curly hair? I wish I did.”

“Piper, stop with the questions. You’re being nosy. Why don’t you see if you can get Mom on the comm here?” I suggested.

“Okay.” Piper darted out of the kitchen, and too late, I remembered what I had left on the work table.

Piper’s shriek came a second later. “Quinn! Disgusting! It’s dead! Get it away!”

“Sorry, Piper,” I said. The Fosaanian girl was edging for the door again. “Wait, don’t go yet. Maybe you could help me with something. It’s in here.” I didn’t want to let her go so I gestured towards the other room and walked out of the kitchen hoping she would follow me. She did, stopping in the doorway. I heard a sharp intake of breath.

When I turned around, the girl was staring wide-eyed around the room. “How is this possible?” she said, reaching out her hand to touch one of the holographic pine trees.

“Oh, I forgot,” I pointed at the scene setter on the table. “I had the scene set to be a pine forest. I really miss one I used to go to on Earth, so I like to set that surrounding when I work.”

“I didn’t know such things existed,” Mira said, kneeling down to touch the stream that ran around the chairs. I turned the sound up so the faint murmur of water came from it. The girl’s hand went into it and touched the floor. “This is amazing! It looks so real. I smell something strange too.”

“I’ve got it set to pine forest scent. I can switch it to something else if you like, flowers, or a camp fire. Do you want to see it snow?” I changed the scene to snowfall and immediately drifts appeared, covering most of the furniture. Holographic snowflakes fell from the ceiling, which had changed to the gray of a winter sky.

Mira lifted her hands out and smiled. “It’s cold! I have heard of snow, but I didn’t know it was cold.”

“Excuse me,” Piper said, standing by the work table with her hands on her hips, her face screwed up in disgust. “Does anyone besides me care that there is a dead thing here?”

“It’s okay, Piper.” I said. “It can’t hurt you. I meant to get rid of it before you got home.” I switched the snowfall back to the forest. The falling flakes were too distracting most of the time.

Piper stomped her foot. “Why do you have to drag stuff inside to depict it? Why can’t you just image things like normal people?”

“There’s no challenge to imaging it. Anybody can do that. Depicting objects sharpens a person’s power of observation.” I’d heard one of the tests to get into the reconnaissance corps training program measured how well the applicant could observe tiny details. “Besides, I needed to scan its measurements so I could record them.” We’d had this argument many times and I didn’t get why Piper couldn’t understand. It wasn’t like I kept the specimens around forever, though sometimes to tease her I pretended I’d accidentally lost one in her room. She fell for it every time.

The Fosaanian girl got up and walked over to the table, stepping around a moss-covered boulder that wasn’t really there. She looked down at the creature. “You didn’t kill this, did you?” she asked.

If I had been the type to lie, I would have told her I caught it barehanded as it ran past me. I was a terrible at lying though. “No, it was already dead when I found it.” I switched the room back to normal.

“I thought so. Most beings don’t survive getting close to an anguist.”

“I didn’t know,” I said, somewhat pleased I had managed to study something so lethal. “It’s called an anguist?”

“I don’t care what it’s called!” Piper wailed. “Just get it away!”

Since I was done with it anyway, and it was already starting to smell in the heat, I reached over to pick it up, intending to drop it out the window into the water.

“Wait!” The Fosaanian girl said. “How did you get it in here? Did you touch it?” She sounded horrified.

My hand froze. “Uh, yeah, I picked it up and brought it in. Why?” I asked, not sure I wanted to know the answer.

“How did you pick it up?”

I pictured how I had found the creature. “I picked it up behind the forelegs. Why?”

“They exude poison when they’re threatened, particularly from their tails.” Mira’s face showed the same alarm that her voice held. “It’s so lethal, it paralyzes you almost immediately.”

I couldn’t remember exactly where I had touched it. I’d moved it around a lot as I was measuring it. Was my hand feeling a little numb? I flexed my fingers. They still worked. “I feel fine. I guess I didn’t touch the poison part.” Good to know I hadn’t managed to paralyze myself. It had been idiotic of me not to think of that possibility. I knew there were dangerous life forms on Fosaan, and the Earthers were forbidden to go anywhere except the depot and the beach, but I hadn’t even imagined a small dead creature could hurt me.

“You shouldn’t just pick up what you find,” Mira said, putting her hands on hips just like Piper did. “There are many deadly animals and plants on Fosaan.”

At first I didn’t hear what she said. The amazing color of her eyes distracted me again. I had thought all Fosaanians had dull gray eyes.

“Quinn, didn’t you hear her? Deadly animals are a BAD thing,” Piper said.

“Um… I heard. Do you know how to identify them?” I asked the girl. She had just given me an idea.

“Of course I know,” she said, as if I were slightly dense. “I wouldn’t be alive if I didn’t.”

I tried to pick my words carefully so I could get her to go along with my idea. “Could you show me which ones are dangerous? I really want to know, because I’m making a guide.” Her expression grew more puzzled and I realized she didn’t understand, so I kept talking. “The life forms that survived the Apocalypse haven’t been completely logged, I mean logged by our people. If you helped me, I could make a real guide. We could work on it together. I’ve got some great recording equipment my friend on the space station lent me and I’ve made this capture device to get some of the smaller flying creatures, so I can observe them and then release them. I’ll show it to you…that is…if you want to see it....” Her face was expressionless, and I realized she might think it was all too boring.

Finally she said, “No…I don’t think my uncle would allow me to help you…I don’t know.”

Since it wasn’t a flat-out no, I persisted, “It wouldn’t take much time.”

“It’s not a good idea,” she said, sounding certain.

I slumped back against the table. At this rate, I’d never get the guide done before the deadline to submit my application to the reconnaissance corps. Without something unique like a guide to add to my application, I didn’t stand much of a chance of acceptance. My examination scores fell right in the middle of average. And if I didn’t get in, my grandfather would make sure I was assigned to one of the officer academies. I knew that would only lead to a spectacular failure. I’d make an even worse officer than my father.

Piper’s voice caught my attention. “Quinn, I thought we were going to talk to Mom.”

“You can speak to someone on the space station from your own home?” Mira drew close to the comm unit and put out her hand like she wanted to touch it.

“Yes, everyone has one of these,” I said.

“Haven’t you seen the ones inside the depot?” Piper asked.

“Fosaanians aren’t allowed inside unless they work there,” Mira said.

I hadn’t realized that. I just assumed the Fosaanians preferred to keep to themselves. “Why not? It’s nothing special.”

“It’s a rule. Are these hard to work?” Mira’s hand still hovered over the touchpad. “My uncle and my cousin operate the one at the depot, and they say you can get information from everywhere in the galaxy, and pictures of other places. My cousin told me he’s seen images of other planets, and they have giant buildings on them.” She said it like she didn’t really believe it.

“Sure, tall buildings are everywhere.” I wasn’t interested in ordinary buildings, but if she was and it got her to stay, I’d show her as many as she wanted. “We’ll look at some once I talk to my mother.”

I was about to speak the code to call up the Comm Center at the station when a voice said, “Incoming message. Secure channel. Turing Seven. Response.”

“That’s Grandfather!” Piper squealed.

I restrained myself from groaning. My grandfather was the last person in the galaxy I wanted to speak to. “Not good timing,” I said, turning to Mira. “I’m sorry, but it would be good if you go in the kitchen while we’re talking to my grandfather. I don’t want to have to explain to him what you’re doing here.”

She didn’t question me, which surprised me, though at the same time I was happy I didn’t have to go into more detail. My grandfather did not like to be kept waiting. I spoke the response. “Turing Five.”

My grandfather’s attaché appeared on the slip, a woman who Piper called Lieutenant Bark because every word the woman spoke came out short and abrupt. “Hold a moment for Admiral Neen,” the woman said.

It didn’t take a moment. Almost instantly the grim, lined face of my grandfather filled the display. I knew everyone remarked on how much I looked like the man, down to the dark brown eyes that were nearly black, the sharp lines of our faces, and the set of our jaws, but I hoped I never grew to look so rigid. In a dress uniform, the dark green sheen of it rippling in the sterile light of his office, the man would have projected authority even if you didn’t know he was head of the Konsilan.

“Good day, Quinn.”

“Good day, Sir.” I instinctively sat up straighter. I’d learned long ago not to slouch in view of my grandfather.

“Hi Grandpa!” Piper pushed in besides me on the chair.

“Hello, Miss Piper.” A smile appeared on the stone face, something rarely seen. “How’s my girl?”

“Good! When are you coming to visit?”

I hoped he’d say “Never.” The last argument between my father and grandfather had been so terrible, I couldn’t imagine them meeting again.

“I’m not sure.” The admiral turned and said something to the attaché and then turned back. “I’m sorry, Piper, but I don’t have much time and I need to talk to your brother.”

“Okay,” she said, sliding off the chair. I heard her move to the kitchen and begin chattering again to Mira. “That’s a pretty necklace! Can you show me how to make one like it?” I didn’t hear Mira’s reply and I tried to block out their voices so my grandfather wouldn’t comment on my lack of focus, an almost criminal offense to him.

The frown had reappeared on his face. “Quinn, I understand you haven’t yet submitted your application for any of the officer academies. The deadline is coming up.”

“I know, Sir. I…uh…wanted to speak with you about that.” I felt sweat running down my back and wondered why the room had suddenly gotten so hot. I tried to think of how I had practiced my speech to my grandfather, but instead all I could see in my head was the sweep of wall in the man’s office that contained image after image of Neen ancestors in all their military glory.

My grandfather raised an eyebrow. “Go ahead.”

I reminded myself that it was my future at stake, not my grandfather’s. “I…” Before I could say anything else, the slip went blank. “That’s weird,” I said.

“What’s weird?” Piper came back in the room.

“We lost contact with Grandfather.”

I spoke the code to call up the Comm Center. The display flickered, then the familiar logo of the station came up, the words Advanced Artificial Intelligence Research Center emblazoned across a rotating triple torus. I waited for the next slip. Someone on first or second shift communications should appear.

Instead, a voice said, “Due to technical difficulties, AAIRC is not available at this time.” The slip went clear.


Dee Garretson writes for many different age groups, from chapter books to middle grade to young adult to adult fiction. She lives in Ohio with her family, and in true writer fashion, has cat companions who oversee her daily word count. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, watch old movies, and attempt various kinds of drawing, painting and other artistic pursuits.



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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

BOOK BLITZ: "The Alpha's Hunger" by Renee Rose

 

The Alpha’s Hunger
(The Alpha’s Hunger, #1)
Renee Rose
Publication date: May 7th, 2015
Genres: Erotica, Paranormal, Romance

Her Millionaire Boss. The Human he can’t resist.

Lying on the floor of her cubicle to stave off a migraine, the last thing Ashley Bell expected was to find the company’s notoriously hard-assed CEO, Ben Stone, standing over her. The offer of a ride home is a bigger surprise, but the biggest shock of all comes when Ben asks her to work for him as his personal assistant.

Despite misgivings about his intentions, Ashley accepts the position. She has barely started the job when she learns her twin sister has been kidnapped, and the price for her life is Ashley’s help in a plot to destroy Ben’s company. But she soon discovers that Ben has a far more terrifying secret of his own.

From the moment he first crossed paths with Ashley, the beautiful young human from marketing, Ben has been consumed by her. When her life is threatened by his enemies, he casts aside caution and fights with the rage of a beast defending his mate. Not sure he can trust her yet determined to protect her, Ben kidnaps Ashley, planning to keep her under his watch for as long as necessary.

Ashley is none too happy with the situation, but a hard bare-bottom spanking changes her attitude…and leaves her begging for more. Though Ben knows a human girl is no match for the fearsome lusts of an alpha wolf, she ignites in him a hunger he can barely contain. Can he resist the urge to mark her as his own and take her harder than she can imagine?

Don’t miss this sizzling paranormal from USA Today Bestselling Author, Renee Rose!


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Also, check out Book #2 in The Alpha's Hunger series:

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Excerpt from "The Alpha's Hunger":


She flushed and looked down at her paper to compose herself. “I do,” she said quietly. “I appreciate your faith in me.” When he said nothing, she amended, “Or maybe this is a test, in which case, I plan to pass it.” She lifted her chin.

A smile flashed around both corners of his mouth but it disappeared as quickly as it had come. “Go,” he said, with his characteristic curtness.

She stood and walked to the door. Grasping the knob, she screwed up her courage and turned around. “Mr. Stone?”

He turned from his computer screen and raised an eyebrow.

“Did you hire me for this job because you actually think I show promise or is it because—” she stopped.

He didn’t help, gazing at her with both eyebrows raised now.

She swallowed. “Because you like the way I look in a skirt?”

The smile flitted across his face and his eyes dropped to her skirt and down her legs.

She flushed, wishing she hadn’t said it.

“Get out, Ashley.”

She actually laughed. Well, it was more a gasp for breath, or a sob. But it came out like a bubble of laughter. He’d called her by her first name, which felt like a success. And she loved the way it sounded in his deep, rich tones, evoking intimacy and…heat. She pushed the door open and stumbled out, relieved to be out of his intense presence. But the moment she shut the door, she missed it.

How would she survive working for this man? He stole her breath with every glance.

Author Bio: 

USA Today Bestselling Author Renee Rose is a naughty wordsmith who writes kinky BDSM and spanking romance novels. Named Eroticon USA’s Next Top Erotic Author in 2013, she has also won The Romance Reviews Best Historical, Sci-Fi and BDSM awards, Spanking Romance Reviews‘ Best Historical, Erotic, Ageplay and favorite author, and was a finalist for The BDSM Writer’s Con Golden Flogger award. She’s hit #1 on Amazon in multiple categories in the U.S. and U.K., is often found on the list of Amazon’s Top 100 Erotic Authors and has been a regular columnist for Write Sex Right. She also pens BDSM stories under the name Darling Adams. To receive four free books from Renee, sign up for her mailing list here.